Daily Rounds: Homo Supersizus; But Poor Women Shrink; Illegal Insurance; Botox Emotional Blunting

Robert W. Fogel Investigates Human Evolution -
In most if not quite all parts of the world, the size, shape and longevity of the human body have changed more substantially, and much more rapidly, during the past three centuries than over many previous millennia. This “technophysio evolution,” powered by advances in food production and public health, has so outpaced traditional evolution, the authors argue, that people today stand apart not just from every other species, but from all previous generations of Homo sapiens as well.  “I don’t know that there is a bigger story in human history than the improvements in health, which include height, weight, disability and longevity,” said Samuel H. Preston, one of the world’s leading demographers and a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania. (

Shrinking Height Of Poor Women Reflects Lack of Food, Health Care : Shots - Health Blog : NPR
New research shows that the average height of women in 14 African countries is shrinking. And that spells bad news for the future health of those nations. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at the heights of women ages 25 to 49 in 54 countries who had been measured between 1994 and 2008, and compared that to the heights of women in 1945. (

Insurance company to pay Massachusetts $760K for selling illegal products | Healthcare Finance News
According to the AG's complaint, U.S. Life sold health insurance policies in Massachusetts that were not authorized for sale and did not cover health services required by Massachusetts law. The mandated services at issue included mental health, maternity healthcare, infertility care, pap test screening, mammography and preventive care for children up to age six. Through these actions, U.S. Life violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

Botox blunts emotional understanding, study finds -
A new study has found that when it comes to reading expressions of emotion on the faces of people in photographs, women who received Botox injections in their face were less accurate than those who had their facial lines plumped with an injectable cosmetic filler. The research contributes new evidence to a key theory about communication between humans: that we unconsciously use facial mimicry to help discern and interpret the emotions of others. (Los Angeles Times)

This program aired on April 27, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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